Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Innovation in sport!

Innovation has taken sport by a bang and has changed the way in which sport is now played and the way decisons are made. The leader in sport innovation Hawk-Eye which celebrates it's 10th year in use this year. Hawk-Eye is computer system used in cricket, snooker and tennis which visually tracks the trajectory of the ball and displays its most like path as a moving image. 

How does Hawk-Eye work you may ask? Follow the link below to watch an interesting video for how Hawk-Eye is set up for each sport.

Hawk-Eye set up video for Cricket

Hawk-Eye set up video for Snooker

Hawk-Eye set up for Tennis


Within snooker Hawk-Eye is able to show the players eye view ( so you are able to see exactly what the player sees).

Blue dot this is shows the viewer where contact with the cue ball should be made in order to produce the desired effect.

Animated shots this can show the shot that a player could, or perhaps should, have attempted to play. The other aspects it can show through using this is:
  • A player miscuing a shot (or getting a kick), leaving the cue ball in the wrong position. Hawk-Eye can show where the cue-ball would have gone if the shot was played as it was intended.
  • A player electing not to play a particular shot as he decides it is too risky (maybe the cue ball would go in a pocket, or cannon into another ball). Hawk-Eye can illustrate what could have happened if they had chosen the risky shot, illustrating the danger in playing it.
  • A player choosing an unconventional shot, possibly with a higher risk factor than the expected shot. Hawk-Eye can show the shot that people were expecting to see.
  • If a player is snookered, Hawk-Eye can produce animations to illustrate possible routes of escape.
  • Hawk-Eye can show what would have happened if a player had chosen to break a pack of reds instead of playing safe, or if they had attacked the shot slightly differently.
and lastly, Shadow. The shadow effect can be used to show the area of the table that the cue ball cannot directly access, as another ball is in its way.



The main use of Hawk-Eye in cricket is the LBW. If an LBW is appealed for Hawk-Eye is able to track the trajectory of the ball with the video and show accurately whether the ball was going on to hit the stumps or not. This is then screened to viewers at home to watch and screened onto the big screens within the ground. Recently it has been used to help decisons of umpires in the recent new innovation in cricket the DRS( decison review sysem).

Below are two videos which demonstrate the use of Hawk-Eye.

Its other uses can include Wagon Wheel. A wagon wheel is cricket jargon for where the batsman has scored all of his/her runs in that specific game. Hawk-Eye represents each of these in different colours. ( Eg. Red for 1, Green for 2 and so on....). 


DeSpin shows how far a delivery has deviated off the line in which it was bowled after pitching. In the picture below the blue line shows a ball which has didn't spin or seam and the red one shows the actualy delivey which did spin. 

Pitch maps are also able to be shown due to Hawk-Eye this shows the bowlers lines and lengths during the over of the duration of that bowlers spell. They make great use for analysing during overs or after a game when looking at a bowlers consistency. This can also be shown as a split screen for if a bowler is going over/around the wicket or bowling at left/right hand batsmen. The different colour balls reflect whether each ball are dots, runs, boundaries or wickets.

Beehives, these show where the ball has past the batsman. Just like the pitch map the balls are represented by colour for each action which happens.  

A video called Railcam. This is a side view of of the differences in the speed, bounce and delivery bowled. Here is a video also which shows the Railcam .Hawk-Eye demonstration of Bowling

With the use of Railcam, the speed of the delivery can be shown also. 

Lastly, Hawk-Eye is also able to show Reaction times. It is fantastic for showing how quick the ball gets to the batsman after pitching and also the reaction time of a catch being taken. 


Like cricket and snooker Hawk-Eye enables many advantages within tennis. Here is an interesting article about Hawk-Eye being set up for Wimbledon. How Hawk-Eye keeps watch at Wimbledon

The biggest advantage is to help the decision of whether the ball is in or out. This is shown through the use of Hawk-Eye for the use of the commentators or whether a player wants to challenge a call and if they do so the umpire will refer the call to Hawk-Eye to show whether the ball was in or out.

Here is a fantastic video showing Hawk-Eye being used between Safin and Federer in 2009.  

Another video shows the use of Hawk-Eye and the players views about the whole concept of Hawk-Eye.

Hawk-Eye also allows us to see a few other things similar to those of cricket. It is able to show the return hit point from a serve. This uses the different colour balls to show which serve they have returned whether being the first or second. On this picture yellow is the first serve and black the second.

It can also show where the serve has landed within the box area for both sides of that players serve. This can help analyse and show the viewers where that certain players serves are landing. Different colours can also be used to show the result of that serve either being an ace(red) or the serve has been returned(yellow).

Lastly it can compare different peoples shots from different games and at different times. For example with the picture I have it compares the back hands of Williams and Henin. This helps with more analysis and for people at home to see. 

So there we have it the fantastic innovation which is Hawk-Eye. I have shown you all of the uses for each sport that it is currently used for take time to watch the videos they all make a very good watch and show the Hawk-Eye at it's very best. However there is a new argument into whether it should now be used in football.


There is still an ongoing debate on whether the use of Hawk-Eye should reach football. A lot of managers are currently in favour of this but FIFA president Sepp Blatter put a stop to this claiming it was too unreliable and unsuitable for football. 

Take a look at this article about the discussion on whether it should be used in football and the reasons why it has not yet been taken up in football. Hawk-Eye in football?

However a recent article within The Telegraph claims that Hawk-Eye has came closer to being considered by Fifa with Southampton Football Club allowing Basingstoke based company Hawk-Eye to use the goals at St Mary's to assess camera angles and the computer system used to make the decision before the inspection expected this month by Fifa. Read more about it here: Goal line technology in football comes closer as Southampton prepare for Hawk-Eye trials

With the use of Hawk-Eye in football it will help eliminate errors of referees and linesmen. One of the biggest of recent times which has really helped with argument for Hawk-Eye was the disallowed Frank Lampard goal vs. Germany in the 2010 world cup. It was a massive match and if the goal had been allowed in which it should have the result could have turned out completely different. Watch the video and you will agree that Technology is definitely needed in football after the success it has had in the past of making decisions in Cricket and Tennis. 

Do you think Hawk-Eye should be used in football? 
What are you opinions on Hawk-Eye as a whole, do you think it is better for sport or worse? 

Feel free to comment you opinions!

If you want more information about Hawk-Eye visit the website, It also has more information on the case for use in football.

Hope you enjoyed this, Speak soon!

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